• How To Move An iTunes Library

    Moving an iTunes library is one of the simplest tasks around. Yet, many people are hesitant to move their library for fear of losing all their music. Plus, many people who have attempted to move their library have run into problems and error messages that appear to indicate their music has disappeared. Frequently these problems lead to frantic forum posts where readers plead for help like their dealing with a life and death situation. I think most of us have been there at one time or another. Even if for a split second, the thought of accidentally deleting your whole library is terrifying. Sure much of the music is replaceable but the time spent to rip a couple terabytes worth of music is gone for good. Fortunately Apple has made the process of moving an iTunes library very simple. In fact it's so simple that many people quickly look over-think the process and assume they need to recreate the wheel to accomplish the task. There are a few more ways to move a library that are not covered here. I've selected the easiest method of moving from point A to point B for this article. What follows is a short Computer Audiophile Academy how-to video and the official Apple documentation about moving an iTunes library.




    Moving an iTunes Library



    From Apple at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1449
    Article: HT1449
    Last Modified: October 14, 2008

    First make sure that the "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" option is checked in iTunes Preferences:

    From the iTunes menu, choose Preferences.

    In the resulting window, click the Advanced button.

    Select the "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" checkbox.

    Click OK.

    Once you've done that, follow the next set of steps to change your iTunes Music library location to the new drive and then consolidate your library to the new location. This not only copies your audio and media files over, it also retains your ratings and playlists. Note: If you move your music and media library to an external hard drive, you will need to have that drive connected to access your files. No matter what, it's always a good idea to have a backup of the media you have in iTunes.

    Open iTunes.

    From the iTunes menu, choose Preferences.

    Click the Advanced button in the Preferences window.

    Click the Change button in the iTunes Music folder location pane.

    In the Change Music Folder Location window that appears, navigate to the location where you would like your new Music folder to be created. Note: By default, your iTunes Music folder is a folder named "iTunes Music" in ~/Music/iTunes/ where the tilde "~" represents your home directory.

    Click the New Folder button in the Change Music Folder Location window.

    In the New Folder window that appears, enter the name of the new iTunes Music folder.

    Click Create.

    Click Open in the Change Music Folder Location window.

    Click OK in the Advanced window.

    From the File menu, choose Library and then Consolidate Library... A message appears that says: "Consolidating your library will copy all of your music into the iTunes Music folder. This cannot be undone."

    Click Consolidate. Important: This action copies all of your music and media files to the new location. There must be enough hard disk space available to copy all of your music and media files.

    Additional Information

    If you move your library to an external drive, you'll need to power up and connect the drive before starting iTunes. If you don't, iTunes will prompt you to either locate the library or to create a new library (which will result in an empty library).


    Comments 10 Comments
    1. dimsal's Avatar
      dimsal -
      Check you these two links:<br />
      <br />
      http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/os-x-applications-games/141495-how-can-you-shared-your-itunes-library-same-mac.html<br />
      <br />
      http://dougscripts.com/itunes/itinfo/sharedlib.php<br />
      <br />
      I hope it helps.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Ha! I was just in the middle of publishing an article on this topic when you replied with some instructions. Anyway, check out the front page for my how-to video and instructions.
    1. ehrawn's Avatar
      ehrawn -
      Chris,<br />
      <br />
      You state: "This action copies all of your music and media files to the new location."<br />
      <br />
      Does this action "copy" or "move" the media files? I am looking for an easy, fast, and accurate way to back up my library. It sounds like if I follow these steps to move my library to an external drive, I will create a duplicate of my library. Can you confirm?<br />
      <br />
    1. serengetiplains's Avatar
      serengetiplains -
      (posted elsewhere)
    1. bixby's Avatar
      bixby -
      Thanks so much for making it so simple. I am now sitting here watching about 110GB of tunes fly from my Macbook drive that was nearly full to my new 1TB external drive.
    1. Deyorew's Avatar
      Deyorew -
      I too just used these instructions to copy my iTunes library from an existing smaller sized hard drive to a new larger hard drive. I can confirm that it does keep the files on the original drive so this can be used as a "backup" operation.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks Chris! <br />
      <br />
      Suggestions: Might create an easy thread like this for people who want a 2nd iTunes library (to compress the songs for use with an iPod or iPhone).
    1. Oliver's Avatar
      Oliver -
      The methodology described here is certainly doable with respect to keeping all your actual music files, but what about the database? Since I've opted to retain the original WAV format (which doesn't allow tag embedding), I also back up the following files ....<br />
      1) the five files in the itunes root folder:<br />
      i) iTunes Library.itl (critical!)<br />
      ii) iTunes Music Library.xml (critical!)<br />
      iii) iTunes Library Extras.itdb (optional)<br />
      iv) iTunes Library Genius.itdb (optional)<br />
      v) sentinel (optional?)<br />
      2) the entire "Album Artwork" subfolder (critical!)
    1. rims369's Avatar
      rims369 -
      One of my friend need this information as last week he asked me for the solution. He wanted to move his music library. He will be very pleased to have this site.<br />
      <br />
      <a href="http://www.k9puppy.co.uk/DogsforSale/">dogs</a><br />
    1. scottgriest's Avatar
      scottgriest -
      i like your blog if you move your library to an external drive, you'll need to power up and connect the drive before starting <a href="http://www.logo-genie.com/">logo design</a> iTunes. If you don't, i Tunes will prompt you to either locate the library or to create a new library (which will result in an empty library)thanks again.<a href="http://www.logo-genie.com/">landing page design</a>
    1. ddhd's Avatar
      ddhd -
      Is there a more up to date script for this? The tabs names and sequencing seem to have changed a bit.